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I believe we are living in a “Give First Economy.” What I mean by this (and I talk about it more here) is that the best and most successful brands, salespeople, entrepreneurs, etc. provide value up front. They “give” before they go for the sale. This is great for people who want to “do business right,” because they are poised to do this anyway. They want to help. But there is one mistake that I see people make all of the time around this concept. They want to say “thank you,” but they mix it up. Let me explain. I got a box in the mail the other day from one of our suppliers. They are a great company, and we do a decent amount of business with them. The box said it had a gift inside, so I was excited to break it open. Let’s face it, it’s always nice to get a “thank you gift.” However, when I opened the package, there was a sales flyer and samples. Don’t get me wrong. They were nice samples. They even had good information on the sales flyer. It was a quality sales piece…and it got me to open the box. But it was NOT a thank you gift. I immediately felt duped. I was a disappointed. I went from being excited to being (mildly) annoyed. It was not the most egregious mistake in the world. It’s not like I won’t forgive them. But I guarantee you it was not what they wanted me to feel (at least I hope not). So just a quick word of advice for Succeeding in the Give First Economy; don’t mix up appreciation and sales. If you want to say “thank you,” then just do that. Show the appreciation. Be sincere. Give first. Don’t work in a sales pitch. You are smart enough to see through that…and so are your customers and prospects. It takes away from the original intent. It also decreases the likelihood that I open the next package. Make sure you never miss an update! Sign up for a VIP newsletter here. It’s not a sales trap…just a place where we share our content (and what’s going on at HMC).
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But what if… One of the push backs I get when I talk about “Success in the Give First Economy” is, if I push out good ideas and value (and I push it out first, before asking) someone might take advantage of me. It’s a fair question. And let’s be honest, it might happen. So let’s take a look at a few of these questions (it comes in a variety of forms)…and I will address a couple here. But what If I give away value to prospects, they might shop me out.This usually comes from a “creative” solution provider. The idea being, if I give you ideas or artwork or something in advance of our agreeing to work together, you might take the idea and shop me out. It’s possible…and it happens. First, if this happens, this prospect has shown their hand. They are the type of client that will do that. Now you get to decide if you want to work with someone like that’ It’s your call. This has certainly happened to me. And when it does, I can jump up and down and complain and cry. Or I can move onto another prospect or client that values me and my time. But what if I share a cool idea on social media, my competition might steal it.I hear this one a lot and I think it’s a lot of worry about nothing. The real truth is, most people won’t do anything with it. That’s why I generally feel like ideas are worthless. It’s all in the execution. Most of the time, your competition is not interested in that much work. But what if I share who I am working with, someone might swoop in and take my client.There is plenty of business out there for all of us…regardless of industry. Most likely, your competition already knows your client exists. You sharing that you work with them is not going to tip them over the edge. “Oh my goodness, XYZ company buys stuff!” As a matter of fact, this is exactly why you need to continue to provide value! That will help you solidify your relationship so you can continue to grow. Make sure you never miss an update! Sign up for our VIP newsletter here.
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Since I started writing this blog every day, I have many times when I wondered whether or not to keep going. The obvious goal (or at least it seems obvious to me) is to provide a ton of value to the people reading. If I can do that over time, the audience will grow. If I continue to do that over time, this will ultimately affect them in a positive way (and help grow our business). I feel like that is growing a business the right way. But make no mistake. There are have been times when I question whether it is worth it. I wonder if anyone cares. I wonder if it IS providing value. I wonder if it’s worth it. This is not a cry for help or a plea for attention. It’s just an honest assessment of time. Coming up with ideas each day, and clackety clacking the keys in order to create this, is a real investment. If I am doing this, I am not doing something else. Then, though, I am reminded of a few things. First, I really do think this is the right thing to do. Whether or not I create any short term sales with this strategy is really not the point. It would be nice, sure. But I really believe we are in a “Give First Economy.” As I mention here, if I believe that, then I want to provide value up front. Reconnecting with that helps. Next, I am reminded that I never know what will provide value! Sometimes I will write an article that I think everyone NEEDS to read. I am convinced that this article will really help people (like this one)...and no one really cares. Then I crank out a piece quickly, and I assume the world will ignore it, and it catches fire (like this one). I point this out because, if I believe my goal is to provide value (and I do) and I am not sure what will resonate (and I am not), then I just need to keep showing up. I need to have a cup of coffee, wipe the sleep from my eyes, and get back to work. My guess is…you do too. Here’s to making a difference. Make sure you sign up for our VIP newsletter below. Become a VIP…and get all of the content we create once a week!
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I was making “sales calls” with Robbie Kehl from Hasseman Brewing yesterday. I use the quotation marks, because these were less about sales and more about checking in. We were popping in to places that are already offering our beer, just to see how it’s going. Obviously, if they are out of beer (or if they want other kinds) we can sell more. But these are hardly the kind of cold calls that we all know and love! As we walked into a place that just recently got our offerings, I got “the vibe” from the owner. It’s the feeling most of us in sales know. It’s the one that says “Oh…these guys again? Weren’t they just here? What do they want?” If you are in sales…you know the feeling. So I took a moment to flip the script. After a few seconds of chit chat, I told him I was here to help him. (Scary words from a salesperson, right?). I told him I wanted to take . his picture (holding our beer of course) and promote his establishment through our social media presence. We wanted to use our influence to send business to him. As you might expect, the tone of the conversation changed. We walked out of the establishment (without asking to sell anything by the way), having created value for a customer. We decided to Give First. I have talked about this concept in detail here. But this is a very real world example of how this can work. And the reality is, you can do this in your business too. The rule is…Sometimes you need to go to your customer when you are NOT asking for money. It’s not about making a sale today. It’s about creating a relationship. This is a tactic and philosophy that creates “20 year customers.” And that, my friends, is how 20 year companies are built. How can we give to you today? Make sure you never miss an update. Sign up for our VIP newsletter today here. We send out a weekly email where you can catch up on all the content we create each week!
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This is an excerpt from the book Delivering Marketing Joy. You can find that here.
“The person that gives the value first has the leverage.” Gary Vaynerchuk
We are living in a “Give First” economy. That is my belief. I believe that the person, salesperson, entrepreneur or company that has the strength to provide value first, will win…long term. The Give First economy does NOT mean the good old boys network. It does not mean that just because we play golf together you have to buy from me. It’s about value. It’s about providing more than you are paid for. It’s about doing business “the right way.” Push vs. Pull: Why? Because times have changed! Since the beginning of marketing and advertising, we have lived in a “push” world. The company that pushed their message out the strongest and the loudest won. But with the onset of the internet (and social media) that has changed. Consumers have the ability to tune us out. They have the ability to shut us off. The power in the relationship has changed. So we need to pull customers in. We need to “give first.”
“Life is an echo. What you put out you get back. What you give you get.” Zig Ziglar
But here is the great news, when it comes to Promotional Products: this plays right into what our Promo is all about. This medium is built on the idea that we provide something of value first, so that we might be able to earn your business. “Okay,” you might be thinking, “I believe you. I need to give first. But what does that mean?” Great question. We are going to dig into some real things you can start to do today in order to impact your business. But be forewarned, these are going to seem like common sense. They will seem simple. But here is a very important secret: simple is not the same as easy.
“The greatest distance in the world is the distance between “I know” and “I do.”
So let’s dig into the steps for building a business that succeeds in the Give First Economy.
Give Joy: That’s right. Give out Joy. The world needs more of it. Studies will tell you that 89% of everything you see in the world is negative. With social media and the culture today, my guess is that number should be higher. We are a culture that is drowning in the negative. That’s the bad news. But the good news is, it’s pretty simple to stand out. Just be positive. Give out Joy. By being the person that spreads good into the world, you have the ability to not only stand out…but to be the kind of person someone WANTS to be around. You will be different. And in the mind of the customer, better is not better…different is better. Pro-Tip: Do an audit of your personal social media pages. Look at the last 10 posts. If 4 or more can be “perceived” as negative, then you are likely seen as negative. Be on the lookout for ways to push out joy!
Give Praise and Thanks: Here’s a scary statistic: 69% of customers that leave you will do so because of perceived indifference. They will leave because they don’t think you care. Yikes. But you can do something about that. Take the time to send real thank you notes. Stop by when you are not selling something just to say thanks. Be grateful for your clients business. You be pleasantly surprised by the response. Pro-Tip: The best organizations and sales professionals send thank you cards. Most don’t. If you are not, start there. If you have mastered that, gather your client’s birthdays. Send them a birthday card…they will not be expecting that!
Give More Than They Pay For: Seth Godin says that if you want to be remarkable, you need do something worth remarking about! This is a simple, but totally under-used way to make people appreciate and remember you. Simply provide more value than your customer is expecting. When you do this, consistently, your customers will find you remarkable. Pro-Tip: The next time you have a large order, add a little “something extra” to it. Maybe this becomes a future sale…maybe not. But you will have provided more than they paid for…and that WILL pay off.
Give Content: This is a very important piece of the Give First success plan. That is why I post a lot about content creation. Social media and content (creation and curation) are great tools to use to provide value up front to customers and prospects. What does this look like? It might be as simple as sharing an article that would be helpful to your client base. It might be a fun video about your staff. It might be pictures of your team having fun. There are tons of ways that content can help you provide your customers and prospects value. What it is not is selling first. Too many entrepreneurs, sales professionals and organizations try and use social media to “push” their message out. You have likely seen them. They simply say “buy from me, buy from me, buy from me” and never provide value.
Pro-Tip: Think of ways to tell your story and provide value through content. Are you a writer? Do you like to take pictures? Are you a talker? Think about what you most enjoy…and get ready to provide value there. The fact is, there are tons of ways to win in the Give First Economy.
But what about the most obvious? Give Promo Premiums: Are you using promo to help to grow your business? We have been preaching that you need to provide value to your customers and prospects first…and this is the perfect tool. So before you go any further, its time to think about how you will use promo to grow your business. Pro-Tip: Create a quarterly appreciation plan for your Top 20% of customers. This will give you an excuse to reach out and provide value every 3 months. It shows them you appreciate their business and (when done right) provides a long term advertising piece right where they are.
If you need help on any of these topics, let us know. We would love to help you talk through it. And make sure you never miss an update, sign up for our VIP newsletter here. Oh…and if you want to just jump to shopping, you can head here.